To provide an educational experience which opens students' minds and hearts to social work's historical commitment to social betterment, peace and justice. The department is organized around the vision and purposes of social work. It aims to inspire students to be proactive as generalist social workers not only enhancing the problem solving and coping capacities of people and linking them with needed resources but also influencing policy change toward building a more just and equitable future in which access to life sustaining resources and opportunity structures is not thwarted by one's race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, age, culture, religion or disability.
It is the program's intent to operate from a philosophy that reflects a strengths-based approach to practice. The program aims to educate generalist practitioners capable of building on the strengths and resources of people and their environments, engaging in advocacy, and using empowerment as a guiding principle in working with diverse individuals, families and groups and advancing social and economic justice. The program is equally intent on utilizing an ecological systems perspective for helping students balance a dual, simultaneous focus on person-in-environment in defining issues and planning interventions in such a way that does not place most of the burden of changing or coping on the person. With and through its graduates, the program strives to contribute to the uplifting and well-being of people in our respective communities as well as the profession itself. Graduates, who honor diversity, uphold the highest ethical standards as the conscience of social work and practice the creative art of blending social work knowledge, values, and skills from a strengths perspective are seen as crowning accomplishments of the program.
The program's mission embraces not only the heart, and conscience of social work but also the centered importance of research-guided knowledge and problem solving in nurturing the science of social work. Educating graduates who value research and use a reasoned approach for assessing, intervening, and evaluating practice outcomes related to planned change forms a significant aspect of the program's mission. In this manner, the program seeks to increase the work force of generalist social workers engaging in accountable, empirically-based practice, knowledge building and sharing of their own practice wisdom to advance the profession.
Briefly, the program's mission is to advance the presence of professional social work and strengthen social work practice in the region and respective communities where graduates choose to work. It is the mission of educating students to translate the purposes of social work into reasoned action, to understand and value diversity, to build on the strengths and resources of people and the environments, engage in advocacy and use empowerment as a guiding principle toward helping individuals, families, organizations and communities change as well as achieve social justice.